The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Category: Five Finds on Friday

Five Finds on Friday: Nathan Hatfield

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Would you like to do Five Finds on Friday? As part of a Thanksgiving tradition, next week’s picks will come from a reader chosen at random. Enter here.

Meanwhile, today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Nathan Hatfield, Executive Chef of the Tasting Room & Taphouse at Mount Ida Reserve. From Cookies with Santa to a Wreath Workshop to a Fireside Wine Dinner, Mount Ida’s holiday events calendar is stuffed. On December 8, Mount Ida will host more than twenty local artisans for a Holiday Artisan Market, where visitors can shop while sipping wine, drinking beer, and enjoying the stunning views. Details here. Hatfield’s picks:

1) Cortado at Lone Light Coffee. “Wonderful locally roasted espresso, milk steamed just right. Not to mention the staff is great too (at both locations). We used to live right around the corner from the High Street location and were there several mornings a week.”

2) Vongole Pizza at Lampo. “It’s hard for me not to order this every time we go to Lampo, and we go too often. Lampo is awesome, everyone knows, but if you haven’t gotten this pie, go on, now’s the time.”

3) Kale Caesar at Greenwood Gourmet Grocery. “One of our favorite go-to spots on days off. Some of the best sandwiches in town and an awesome wine and beer selection. Their super lemony kale salad hits all the right notes and will keep me going out of my way to come here.”

4) Sazerac at The Alley Light. “Most Sundays after work you can find me and my wife at the bar. It might be my first drink, it might be my last; either way, there’s a good chance I’ll have a Sazerac. The version Andrea makes in one of the best I’ve had.”

5) Beef Back Ribs at Little Star. “We’ve been going to Little Star since they opened and this dish we find ourselves ordering again and again. The rib meat is cooked just right, the sauce is bright and spicy, and there’s a fresh herb salad to balance it all out. It’s good. Get it.”

Vongole

 

Five Finds on Friday: Jeff White

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Blue Moon Diner has reopened, and today’s Five Finds on Friday come from a man who cooked there more than thirty years ago. Jeff White manned the grill of the Charlottesville icon from 1985-1987, married one of the waitresses, and, now, more than three decades later, is the top sports writer for the University of Virginia. For many UVa fans, his columns are daily must-reads. History class from White:

I started cooking for then-owner John Grier at the Blue Moon Diner late in my undergraduate days at UVa and continued working there (and down the street at the late, great Cotton Exchange, whose owners were Grier, John Hoy and Kirby Hutto) until moving to Richmond in 1987.

Back then, the Blue Moon’s grill was out front, a few feet from the counter, and the pressure of cooking in a packed diner ––– in full view of customers, with the jukebox blaring, while hungover on a weekend morning –– no doubt helped prepare me for the stress of writing newspaper stories on deadline.

Most important, the Blue Moon is where in 1986 I met Beth Pearce, whose brother Tom was a fellow cook. Beth later waitressed at the diner, and we were married in 1989.

It’s wonderful to see the Blue Moon open again, and it’s hard to go wrong with anything on its menu, which has expanded considerably since my time there. Here are five of my other favorites:

1) Hot Sicilian at Durty Nelly’s / Wayside Deli. “The GOAT when it comes to sandwiches. I’ve been placing the same order at Durty Nelly’s/Wayside Deli for 30-plus years and hope to continue doing so for another 30. It’s a heavenly combination of Genoa salami, turkey, provolone, onion, peppers and mayo on rye, all heated.”

2) Greg Brady at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint. “The burgers at Jack Brown’s are, to me, the perfect size –– not too big, not too small ­–– and complementing the beef on this delicacy are mac and cheese, Martin’s BBQ potato chips, and a blend of American and cheddar cheeses. The fries are great, too, as is the selection of beers from around the world.

3) Burrito Michoacana at La Michoacana. “This low-key restaurant on East High Street was once a hidden gem, but its excellence has been common knowledge around town for years now. Keep the option of a post-lunch nap open after eating one of these burritos. You may need it.”

4) Ragin’ Cajun at Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie. “I’m a sucker for andouille, and this pie also features Creole-spiced shrimp, green peppers, roasted red peppers and mozzarella. Dr. Ho’s, of course, has Blue Moon ties. Its founder, Jerry Danner, ran the diner after buying it from John Grier.”

5) Cookies and Cream Milkshake at Crozet Creamery. “A group of us in the athletic department has a tradition we hold dear. When one of the UVa teams we support (as writers, videographers, photographers, etc.) picks up a significant win –– almost any conquest of Virginia Tech qualifies as such – we celebrate by treating ourselves to milkshakes. My victory shake of choice is one of many fantastic offerings at my local ice cream parlor, whose other options include the (Jack) Salted Caramel.”

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Jeff White, Blue Moon Diner, 1985

Five Finds on Friday: Portia Boggs

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Portia Boggs of The Local Food Hub, which, in parternship with Junction and Monticello Wine Trail, is hosting an upcoming benefit called What Grows Together Goes Together. November 7 at Junction, the wines of five local wineries will be paired with appetizers by chef Melissa Close-Hart. to illustrate the natural pair-ability of food and wine from the same region. Tickets are $50 each and include a wine glass to take home. All proceeds benefit Local Food Hub. Tickets and details here. Boggs’ picks:

1) Thai Tofu Wrap at Revolutionary Soup. “Rev Soup has been a favorite spot since I first moved to Charlottesville in 2012, and this sandwich is my go-to. On chilly days, I like to pair it with the Spicy Senegalese Peanut Tofu soup for a meal that is equal parts hearty, spicy, and warming. It’s no coincidence that both dishes use locally-made Twin Oaks Tofu, the best tofu I’ve had in my 12+ years of vegetarianism.”

2) Mushroom, Leek, and Gruyere Pot Pie followed by Dark Chocolate Cream Pie at  The Pie Chest. “I could have gone with anything the Pie Chest offers – they make a range of sweet and savory pies, rotating with what is in season. I’ve never had a bad experience, and am typically first in line to try the new releases. Mushroom, Leek, and Gruyere and Dark Chocolate are available year-round, and are consistently phenomenal. They share a space with Lone Light Coffee, whose latte goes perfectly with a warm piece of fruit pie.”

3) Mexican-Style Street Corn at Junction. “The only thing better than freshly-picked, grilled and generously buttered corn is Mexican street-style corn, and Junction does it perfectly, with a spot-on balance of flavor. Their housemade queso and guacamole are another must whenever I go.”

4) Migas Tacos at Brazos Tacos. “These crunchy, cheesy, egg-y tacos are worth the early-ish wakeup time and wait in line they often require. The Migas is my favorite, but all their tacos are incredible. As an added bonus, you can get them with Ula Tortilla’s, a local tortilla company that knows their stuff!”

5) Lacinato Kale Salad at MarieBette. “This salad, paired with a cafe au lait, followed by one of their amazing pastries (pretzel croissant, anyone?) is a dream lunch. Their second location, Petite MarieBette, is right by the Local Food Hub offices, making it an ideal easy, fast, and delicious last-minute lunch.”

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